Sitar
Accessories

Sitar Tutor 1 DVD  by Ashwin Batish. Learn the basics of playing the sitar. Proper tuning, hand and sitting positions and other  important techniques to give the begining student  the right start on their road to learning this instrument
Sitar Tutor 2 DVD  by Ashwin Batish. Begining Sitar Exercises. This is one of the best tutors to take the student to the next level of  sitar techinques to give the begining student  the right start on their road to learning this instrument
Sitar Tutor 3  DVD by Ashwin Batish. It sounds simple enough until you go about doing it. Changing the strings on your sitar can  be quite daunting especially to newbies. An instrument repair shop can charge you a lot for this. It can take a  seasoned pro more than two hours for this job. It is good for a sitar student to know how to do this themselves.  What if you are performing and you break a string you have to become an expert to take care of such emergencies!

This video covers the intricate task of replacing all the strings on a sitar. Detailed step-by-step instructions  makes this experience easy and safe. Tips given include how to make proper string loops, clean the frets, polish  the sitar, and how to protect yourself from injury.
Sitar  Tutor #4 - Tweaking Your Sitar

by Shri Ashwin Batish

Sitars coming out of India are invariably in need of tweaking. This is unfortunate as most of the new sitar  students (and a few old ones) have no idea of the mechanics of a sitar and hence cannot set it to play in good  intonation and with the proper action. THis not only makes your learning experience disappointing but is also a  major barrier to a student's musical growth. This tutor covers many of the adjustments necessary to whip your sitar  into performance shape. Topics Covered: Bridge adjustment using harmonics, Main string adjustment, Tuning beads  adjustment, Tuning the frets for proper intonation, Adjustments to maximize the sitar's meend, Shimming the bridge  - Program duration 62 minutes. www.batish.com
Sitar String Set
Batish Style
Batish Standard Sitar String Set: This contains 7 individually packed main and 13 sympathetic strings in a roll.  The 2nd and 4th strings are the same gauge. These strings are very high grade and are packed with instructions for  installation. All strings are carefully cut and wrapped at our facility in Santa Cruz and are some of the best  grade strings available. These are the same strings used by Ashwin Batish himself!
Batish Brand
Low Sa String Set: This contains 7 individually packed main and 13 sympathetic strings in a roll. The 4th string is  the Low Sa bronze gauge 28.5 string. All our strings are very high grade and are packed with instructions for  installation. All strings are carefully cut and wrapped at our facility in Santa Cruz and are some of the best  grade strings available. These are the same strings used by Ashwin Batish himself!
SAT1100 Seiko  Tuner
Great for tuning your sitar veena etc. It has a VU meter so one can judge better how to tune microtones as opposed  to the equal temperament. www.batish.com
MIZRAB
Finger Picks for Sitar, Veena: Very good quality, Steel picks. Click on More images for instructions on how to  measure your finger to get a correct fit. This is critical for everyone to do before ordering.
Fret  tying thread for Sitar, Dilruba. 
Available in Yellow or Green. See More images for other style. www.batish.com catalog
Swan Tuner for  Main strings of sitar, tanpura, veena: made of bone. Very good quality. Some sample shapes are given. All pieces  vary in size, shape and looks as they are all individually carved by hand. We recommend that if you are getting a  set of these for a sitar, the largest one should be put on the 1st string. www.batish.com catalog
Main Bridge  for Sitar. www.batish.com catalog
Plastic Swan  for tuning in sitar, veena, tanpura. www.batish.com catalog
Sitar Power  Hats!www.batish.com catalog
Sitar Power  Vinyl LP original Batish release - RARE!!www.batish.com catalog
Sitar  Power Sweatshirts
Large, XL, and XX Large
Please specify size when ordering. Only one gray one left. Size Large.!www.batish.com catalog
Sitar Power 1  T-Shirts for Sale. 50/50 haynes

Sizes presently available Large, XL, and XXL!www.batish.com catalog
Sitar  Power Hats!www.batish.com catalog for kids
In Concert - Part  1 - Ashwin Batish - Sitar, Zakir Hussain - Tabla - Raga Shudha Sarang - Alaap and Gat in medium and fast tintal.

This is the first half of a concert held at the Performing Arts Theatre, University of California, Santa Cruz. It  is a unique and a refreshing experience in the exposition of the North Indian school of music.

(Program duration 56 minutes)!www.batish.com catalog
Morning  Meditation Ragas on Sitar: Shri Ashwin Batish, sitar and Pandit S.D. Batish, tabla. Track Listings:

    Raga Pahadi - Alaap | mp3 sample 40 sec.
    Raga Pahadi - Gat composition in Deepchandi Tal | mp3 sample 40 sec.
    Raga Vibhas - Alaap | mp3 sample 40 sec. and Gat composition in Ektal | mp3 sample 40 sec.
    Raga Todi - Alaap | mp3 sample 40 sec. and Gat composition in Tintal | mp3 sample 40 sec.

All music composed and performed by Ashwin Batish (ASCAP).

This was Ashwin's debut album. It was originally recorded in 1978 and was a cassette only release. This recording  has been re mastered for CD from the original Reel to Reel tape. Some of Ashwin's favorite morning ragas are  presented here being performed in the North Indian classical style. Ashwin's father is accompanying him on the  tabla.
!www.batish.com catalog
7
Exotic  scales of North India: 650+ Ragas written in Staff and Sargam notations, pp. 190.
This encyclopedia is for all musicians interested in boosting their compositional creativity. Notated in Western  staff and Indian sargam, it is a reference guide designed to put you in touch with the wealth of exotic raga scales  of North India. Now you too will have access to the very same knowledge that is an integral part and foundation of  practicing Indian musicians. Keep it handy and tap its wealth. www.batish.com catalog
These are  introductory songs on the ragas of the North Indian Music System with English Lyrics designed especially for the  Western student. The words will teach you the raga’s rules, while the melody will simultaneously unfold the raga’s  image! Listen and Learn ...... An idea so simple yet so brilliant manifested as Panditji and I were trying to  create an educational tool to teach our English speaking students in the West. Rasik Raga Lakshan Manjari is the  product of our quest. It is the first time traditional ragas have been expressed with English words so that  students in the West and all over the English speaking areas of the World can learn the basics of the Hindustani  Raga Padhiti by simply learning a song. Lakshan Geet are introductory raga songs and they express within the song  all the necessary rules that are required to learn and play the raga. These have, in the past, only been available  in Sanskrit and Hindi for Indian students. The compositions that are weaved around the English words are built with  all the Raga's attributes in mind and hence reinforce the words thus making this a very powerful learning tool.  Panditji sings them with powerful yet clear renditions so that the student can sing along. All the ornaments are  expressed and might take a while to digest fully. But in time we are very confident that the student will listen  and learn successfully. www.batish.com catalog
Ashwin Batish  presents 10 of the hottest rhythm cycles of North India in this unique collection that has been compiled especially  for classical and folk music of North India and is an invaluable resourse for Jazz/World musicians and composers  interested in jamming with Tabla grooves.
Rhythms featured are: Tintal-16 beats, Ek Tal-12 beats, Rupak-7 beats, Dadra-6 beats, Keharwa-8 beats, Jhaptal-10  beats, Jhumra-14 beats, Deepchandi-14 beats, Dhamar-14 beats, and Jaltital-16 beats.

There are 10 CDs in all, one for each Tala. Each CD consists of the Theka in three different tempos - slow, medium  and fast. Each track is 15 per tempo. In the case of Tintal and Ektal rhythms, we have included bonus tracks of the  very slow theka. www.batish.com catalog
A publication of the Batish Institute of Indian Music and Fine Arts

Sitar Lesson #2
Sitar buying tips and repair of your Sitar or Tanpura gourd

by Ashwin Batish

In the last lesson I talked about what to look for when buying a sitar. There are a few more points I'd like to cover on that subject. But first I'd like to thank everyone that email, called, wrote to me about how much you are enjoying RagaNet and these lessons. I also had some special requests to write on specific topics. One such email was from a person who had an unfortunate mishap. The gourd on his sitar broke during shipment from India. Knowing there are many others in the same predicament, I have decided to do a little writeup on how to go about fixing broken gourds. So here goes.....

What is a gourd?
Gourd is of the pumpkin family. In India they are grown especially for musical instruments such as the sitar, tanpura, veena, ektara etc. They are light and form a natural resonance chamber. They can be cultured to grow symetrically although perfection in roundness is rare but possible. Interestingly, I've heard that when the gourd gets to a certain size, the growers will dig a round hole in the ground and the gourd will be put inside the dirt hole and it then grows to the size and shape of the dirt hole.

As the gourd matures it is dried out and the seeds are removed. The inside is cleaned and it is ready for use. The outside shell now is quite hard. Some instruments as the veena use the whole gourd whereas the sitar, tanpura, ektara will be designed around a chopped half section (see illustration above).

A gourd can look deceptively sturdy. A majority of them sustain damage during shipment. Sometimes I think that alone can keep the sitar industry from going bankrupt. Other mishaps happen due to improper storage. Some people will damage it when trying to stand the sitar up vertically on its gourd and walking away from it to have a cup of chai and a person walking by will accidently knock it down. Many a time I have seen instruments roll off the stage and fall to the floor. I had an instance where one of my students used to carry his sitar to lessons in a bus. Once he accidently knocked a hole in the gourd while trying to get out of the bus. The moral of this story? ..... have a carrying case for your instrument!

Here are some questions to ask yourself when embarking on a gourd repair

  • What is the extent of the damage? - A different approach is needed for minor as opposed to major surgery.
  • Do you have all the pieces? If so collect them in a plastic ziplock bag.
  • Do you see any visual damage at the point where the strings are tied?
  • Does the gourd have termites? Indian termites are very very small. But they carry a big bite. I have seen some gourds that have small holes all over. This can, over time, result in a gourd fracture or a sudden hole in the gourd when it receives any kind of a hit. This one is a tough repair. Usually the termites have also moved into the wood and even into your books! If you find this sort of damage, fumigate everything in sight!
  • Make note of the color of the gourd. Is it a stain or a natural clear varnish? If it is stained (usually brown or black) you need to match this with a good quality stain from your lumber yard.

    Tools you will need

  • Epoxy glue
  • A sharp utility knife
  • A flat wood spatula (about 1/2" wide)
  • Wood stain
  • Natural bristle brush about 3/4" wide / or a soft lint free piece of cloth and some cotton
  • Fine (00 grade) and medium grade sandpaper - a good supply
  • Steel wool (fine grade)
  • An assortment of clamps for gluing the pieces together
  • A good quality Wood filler about 1/8 quart
  • Medium rough metal file
  • small wooden wedges about 1/32 or 1/16 of an inch thick and about 1/4"wide

    The Repair begins!
    The first thing to remember is that a gourd has a soft interior but a hard outer shell. I have found that a slow drying epoxy glue works best. It dries hard as a rock and that is important. So let's take a few samples of cracked gourds and explain how to repair them.

    1. Hairline cracks

    If they are almost invisible, leave them alone. The sitar will probably sound fine. The damage is hardly noticable. Just don't bang it again in the same spot. Get a case and you'll enjoy the sitar for many years to come.

    2. Visible cracks between 2" - 6"

    These types of cracks can be easily seen. Or, by applying a little pushing force with both hands around the gourd, the crack pops open. Sometimes these cracks create a tonal buzz while playing. This needs to be taken care off.

    Proceedure:

    If when you apply force with both hands, the crack opens up enough, stick a small wooden wedge to keep it open. Then mix the epoxy and shove it into the crack with the spatula. Make sure it enters the crack. The best test of this is when you are done pushing the epoxy into the crack, remove the wedge and you will immediately see some of the epoxy ooze back out of the crack. This is a good sign. Take a rag and clean the excess epoxy. Now let this dry for 24 hours. After it is completely dry observe the area. There should be no movement in the crack. It's fixed! If you have cleaned the excess epoxy well, it is probably not even necessary to do any sanding etc. If the finish looks good then go ahead and enjoy your sitar!

    3. Cracks longer than 6"

    Procedure:
    This is where the fun begins. These cracks may have tributaries. They sometimes look like lightening; like a tree branching into multiple cracks. The best way to handle this is two fold:
    First fix the cracks that can be wedged open - as given in the previous example - then, after the main crack has dried.
    Now fix the branching cracks. These should look almost like hairline cracks. To fix these use your utility knife and scratch right on top of the crack surface. Yes, you are trying to increase its width. The reason for this is that by increasing the width, you are infact creating room for the epoxy. I usually scratch out a groove about a 32th of an inch. Blow off any dust or dirt and fill this groove with epoxy. Clean the excess epoxy and let it dry for 24 hours. The next day you'll notice the the place you had scratched and filled with epoxy will probably have a little sunken area where the epoxy shrank after drying. Use some wood filler to cover this and sand the area smooth. Stain and varnish.

    4. Small holes in the gourd (1/4" to 1/2" round)

    These are very easily fixed by substituting a wood plug that you can either make using a piece of 1/8" paneling or any type of easily carvable wood. Just use your utility knife to scratch the surface of the gourd around the hole such that it is chamfered inwards. Do the same to the wood plug but in this case chamfer it outwards. A little grinding to make the fit perfect and then glue it into place. Let it dry and then sand it until it blends with the gourds contour. Stain and varnish.

    5. Large holes in the gourd (1" to 3" round)

    These are a bit tricky. Since it is very hard to access the gourd from the inside you have to create a way to put a wire mesh behind the surface of the gourd. Here's how.....

    You're going to need a rigid wire mesh screen. Screen density should not be about 1/64th of an inch. You'll also need some bondo.. yes it's the same fiberglass stuff you use to repair your car!

    Use your utility knife to chamfer all around the hole just like in the previous example. This is to ensure that the fiberglass material will sit over the gourd like a cap while also giving it a stronger surface contact.

    Now cut the screen mesh about an inch larger than the hole. Tie a piece of thread to the center of this mesh and coax it into the hole. Don't drop the thread into the gourd! Now apply a generous (and I mean thick!) coating of the epoxy to the inside surface of the gourd around the hole. I usually wear a surgical glove and use my index finger to do this. Pull the mesh up by the thread until it sinks into the epoxy. You can even tie the thread on some thing above. Leave this be for 24 hours.

    The next day you should find the mesh nice and tight and ready for the filling job.

    Now you need to mix the bondo according to instructions. Use the applicator and apply an even coating to cover the hole. After it dries, sand it slightly and apply another coat. You should observe the contour of the gourd and design the coverage accordingly. File the excess and use the fine sandpaper to bring it to a smooth finish. Stain and varnish.

    6. Shattered Sitar Gourds

    Shattered sitar gourds are like a jigsaw puzzle. These are the most time consuming to repair. You will have to use a combination of the techniques given above. The most important thing to remember is that you need to collect all the pieces. Take stock of all the gourd pieces and do a mock up if possible. Many pieces will fit perfectly without any trouble. Use epoxy and a few clamps and join these before you do anything else. Soon you'll find that out of the many pieces you now only have to glue together a few. It is important to remember to take it slow. But the tools are the same as described above. You will probably end up with a few holes because the pieces shattered into dust. These holes can be fixed as shown above. After everything is clumpled together use wood filler and sand everything smooth. Stain and varnish.

    Issues:

    1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9

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